There’s nothing official, but Jurgen Klinsmann has emerged as the clear front-runner to replace Bob Bradley as the next United States men’s national team coach. Klinsmann would become just the fourth USMNT coach since 1995 and the first foreign-born coach since Bora Milutinović, who managed the team from 1991-95.
The first strong indication that Klinsmann was the man came from Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, who indicated the next coach was not going to be a surprise. Since then a blogger who goes by the Twitter handle of @NotJohnSpencer, and who I can attest to being reasonably well connected in the U.S. Soccer community, has said his sources have confirmed Klinsmann’s hiring.
The timing of Klinsmann’s apparent hiring is odd, to say the least. Bradley was given a four-year extension shortly after the most recent World Cup, reportedly after Klinsmann had turned down the job. Yet Bradley’s firing would seem to be directly tied to Klinsmann as the hiring was set to be announced just a day after Bradley’s fate had been made public.
One possibility, though, is that Bradley’s contract contained some kind of out if he failed to guide the USMNT to the 2013 Confederations Cup, a berth that was have required the U.S. winning the most recent Gold Cup. The U.S. lost to Mexico 4-2 in the final.
While Klinsmann reportedly clashed with USSF President Sunil Gulati over the amount of control the former Germany coach demanded, maybe the loss to Mexico was enough to move the needle. There were also grumblings that Bradley had begun to lose the support of U.S. players.